Skip to main content
Select Source:

papyrus

papyrus (pəpī´rəs), a sedge (Cyperus papyrus), now almost extinct in Egypt but so universally used there in antiquity as to be the hieroglyphic symbol for Lower Egypt and a common motif in art. The roots were used as fuel; the pith was eaten. The stem was employed for sandals, boats, twine, boxes, mats, sails, cloth and most notably as a writing material (used in Egypt until the introduction of paper there in the 8th cent. and exported throughout the Mediterranean world). This writing material, which was also called papyrus, was formed into sheets by laying lengthwise slices of the sedge side by side in two layers at right angles and pressing them together with an adhesive probably composed of their own juices and Nile water. The sheets were glued end to end and rolled on wooden rods to form manuscripts. Many examples have been recovered, especially in Egypt, and have furnished valuable literary and historical matter in Greek and other languages. The science of papyrology is concerned with the study of these documents. Papyrus is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliopsida, order Cyperales, family Cyperaceae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/papyrus

"papyrus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/papyrus

papyrus

papyrus a material prepared in ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of the water plant papyrus, a tall aquatic sedge native to central Africa and the Nile valley, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing or painting on and also for making articles such as rope, sandals, and boats.

To form a sheet of writing material, the stem of the papyrus plant was sliced into thin strips which were laid side by side, with another layer of similar strips crossing them, usually followed by a third parallel to the first. The whole was then soaked in water, pressed, and dried.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

"papyrus." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

papyrus

pa·py·rus / pəˈpīrəs/ • n. (pl. papyri / -rī/ or papyruses ) 1. a material prepared in ancient Egypt from the pithy stem of a water plant, used in sheets throughout the ancient Mediterranean world for writing or painting on and also for making rope, sandals, and boats. ∎  a document written on papyrus. 2. the tall aquatic sedge (Cyperus papyrus) from which this material is obtained, native to central Africa and the Nile valley.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-1

"papyrus." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-1

papyrus

papyrus Stout, perennial water plant, native to s Europe, n Africa, and the Middle East, used by the ancient Egyptians to make a paper-like writing material. Strips of the stem were arranged in layers, crushed and hammered to form a loosely textured, porous kind of paper. Height: to 4.5m (15ft). Family Cyperaceae; species Cyperus papyrus.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/papyrus

"papyrus." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/papyrus

papyrus

papyrus kind of sedge from which ancient writing material was made XIV; writing material so prepared XVIII. — L. papȳrus — Gr. pápūros paper-rush, of unkn. orig. The comb. form is papyro-, as in papyrology, papyrologist (XIX).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-2

"papyrus." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-2

papyrus

papyrus. Decoration based on stylized versions of the flowers and leaves of the paperreed (Cyperus papyrus), often found in Ancient Egyptian architecture, notably on capitals.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

papyrus

papyrus See CYPERUS.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

"papyrus." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus

papyrus

papyrusArras, embarrass, harass •gynandrous, polyandrous •Pancras • charas • Tatras • disastrous •ferrous • leprous • ambidextrous •Carreras, mayoress •scabrous •cirrus, Pyrrhus •chivalrous •citrous, citrus •ludicrous • tenebrous •Cyrus, Epirus, papyrus, virus •fibrous • hydrous • Cyprus •retrovirus • monstrous •brachiosaurus, brontosaurus, canorous, chorus, Epidaurus, Horus, megalosaurus, pelorus, porous, sorus, stegosaurus, Taurus, thesaurus, torus, tyrannosaurus •walrus •ochrous (US ocherous) •cumbrous • wondrous • lustrous •Algeciras, Severus •desirous •Arcturus, Epicurus, Honduras •barbarous • tuberous • slumberous •Cerberus • rapturous •lecherous, treacherous •torturous • vulturous • Pandarus •slanderous • ponderous •malodorous, odorous •thunderous • murderous •carboniferous, coniferous, cruciferous, melliferous, odoriferous, pestiferous, somniferous, splendiferous, umbelliferous, vociferous •phosphorous, phosphorus •sulphurous (US sulfurous) •Anaxagoras, Pythagorasclangorous, languorous •rigorous, vigorous •dangerous • verdurous •cankerous, cantankerous, rancorous •decorous • Icarus • valorous •dolorous • idolatrous •amorous, clamorous, glamorous •timorous •humerus, humorous, numerous •murmurous • generous • sonorous •onerous • obstreperous • Hesperus •vaporous • viviparous • viperous •Bosporus, prosperous •stuporous • cancerous •Monoceros, rhinoceros •sorcerous • adventurous • Tartarus •nectarous • dexterous • traitorous •preposterous • slaughterous •boisterous, roisterous •uterus • adulterous • stertorous •cadaverous • feverous •carnivorous, herbivorous, insectivorous, omnivorous •Lazarus

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"papyrus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"papyrus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 22, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-0

"papyrus." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved August 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/papyrus-0